I work at Kookmin University’s International Office helping South Korean students transition into life in Toronto and Centennial College. I do presentations and answer questions about the programs, life, and culture in Canada. It is great to share my experiences and be of use to students who want to learn. Today I helped students navigate “MyCentennial”, the online website that professors from Centennial College use to communicate with students. Students have a lot of questions about dorm life, entertainment, and making friends in Canada. I also help Kookmin University by communicating with Canadian universities like University of Winnipeg and University of Victoria.
Working in an office in Seoul is different than working back home in Canada. In South Korea there is formal and informal talk. This means that the way you speak to your friends is definitely not how you should talk with your boss or coworkers. There are levels of formality. For example, the way you talk with boss is very different than the way you talk with the president of the company. Additionally, when I worked back in Canada, you could e-mail your fellow coworkers to communicate. However, in South Korea it is better to talk to people face to face rather than e-mail. In my opinion this is better because you can form a better relationship with your coworkers and boss. This also allows you to network more efficiently. Some similarities include the dress code which follows Western customs. At my work place the dress code is business casual. Furthermore, the work hours are longer than Canadian work hours. Koreans work from 9am-6pm and volunteer to work on the weekend!
Life at work is always exciting since I’m meeting new students who are curious about Canada everyday. The people at work are very kind and helpful. We go out to traditional Korean lunches regularly and learn more about each other. People at work are multilingual. For example, they can speak Russian, German, English, French, Dutch. There are people of all ages and research assistants who help the office run smoothly. Overall working in Seoul has been an excellent and interesting experience.